Rating:
8.5
Cult Of Luna - Vertikal
25 January 2013


01. The One
02. I: The Weapon
03. Vicarious Redemption
04. The Sweep
05. Synchronicity
06. Mute Departure
07. Disharmonia
08. In Awe Of
09. Passing Through
10. The Flow Reversed [limited edition bonus]


Rarely does an album place you in the exact environment which its creators would have you experience. Even rarer, in my experience, is when such is achieved within the wide reaching scope of post-metal; albums can be loose in their effort to engage the listener and they tend to be vague in their atmospheric axis points. The lines of latitude are often blurred and while an atmosphere is usually present it can be an altogether indifferent experience as you fail to identify your location. Yet listening to Cult Of Luna's latest release Vertikal you'll likely be more the wiser about your surroundings.

Supposedly the theme which ties the album together is based on "Metropolis" a 1927 German silent film dealing with a futuristic dystopian society. And the listener is thrown into the very thick of it. You can almost visualize the towering high-rises which block out all natural light and effectively entrap you in a man-made hell and technological cage. Once you're inside there is no leaving as the caustic guitar work severs all connections with the outside and leave you wasting behind bleak walls of atmospheric sludge and surrounds you with the thick fumes of post rock and metal.

The heavy use of synths and dense waves of electronic elements like in the introductory and pulsating track "The One" and the interlude "The Sweep" tie the album together as they are fitted amongst the gradual ascension of grippingly atmospheric passages such as the massive "Vicarious Redemption." Here the ambient elements first take hold and continue to rise up from the shadowed streets of this dystopia, slowly taking form in a well conceived alignment of post and sludge which steadily picks up in tempo and adopts a crushing rhythm.

The hardcore styled clean vocals, coarsely edged shouts and shrill hammering of high-hat and cymbal standout as they are projected within the atmospheric walls and attempt to breach their prison of sludge infused post metal. The drumwork is particularly well performed leading up to some truly climactic moments such as in the final stretch of the aptly titled "In Awe Of" or the rhythmically outstanding "Mute Departure."

Bearing a smoothly digestible sound as a result of a well balanced production, the album makes for an engaging listen. What is polished here in such a competent manner is at once richly diverse and defined, granting each track a ready and memorable distinction. Cult Of Luna has an atmospheric and thematic focus which manifests itself quite nicely in Vertikal.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Cult Of Luna
Album: Vertikal


 



Written on 21.01.2013 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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Monolithic - 21.01.2013 at 12:39  
Since I'm familiar with most of CoL's work, I find this album to be a solid and breath-taking effort. I'm doubtful if it ever tops "Somewhere Along The Highway" or "Salvation" but it's a must-listen for every CoL, especially those who were dissatisfied with "Eternal Kingdom".

Good Review as usual.
InnerSelf - 21.01.2013 at 13:45  
Brilliant review, the opening paragraph couldn't be more true, and the fact that CoL still manages to create this haunting atmosphere and keep things fresh separates from the sea of post/sludge bands. I'd easily score a solid 9 and maybe 9+ at some point in the future.
Unhealer - 22.01.2013 at 00:10  
Oh yeah, I love dystopias. I checked this out once and it was reaaaaally good at times but I preferred to listen to my own thoughts every now and then; I'll surely give it more listens.
Chobo_jokeR - 22.01.2013 at 04:33  
Agree with the review 100%. The atmosphere actually evokes the intended emotions/response of the listener. I actually feel the sci-fi vibe and the dissonance. Fantastic album. I've been listening to alot of CoL, and their albums get better with each listen.
Kuroboshi - 22.01.2013 at 15:59  
Haven't listened yet, but reeeaaally looking forward to my favorite band's newest.
blackmamba - 24.01.2013 at 06:49  
The album is great!
Evil Chip - 26.01.2013 at 06:31  
Two year ago I watched Metropolis in an argentinian theatre with some musicians playing a soundtrack for the film that they created. Really Satie-Debussyish music with some sci-fi synth elements sparkled there and there. I think this record would've fit some parts of the movie better than that soundtrack. It is a really intense and futuristic record.
R'Vannith - 26.01.2013 at 06:41  
Written by Evil Chip on 26.01.2013 at 06:31

Two year ago I watched Metropolis in an argentinian theatre with some musicians playing a soundtrack for the film that they created. Really Satie-Debussyish music with some sci-fi synth elements sparkled there and there. I think this record would've fit some parts of the movie better than that soundtrack. It is a really intense and futuristic record.


I'm not much of a film buff so I haven't seen it, I can count on one hand the number of films I've seen that were made before the 50's. I can honestly say though that this album really gives me the urge to watch Metropolis.
Evil Chip - 26.01.2013 at 06:52  
Written by R'Vannith on 26.01.2013 at 06:41

Written by Evil Chip on 26.01.2013 at 06:31

Two year ago I watched Metropolis in an argentinian theatre with some musicians playing a soundtrack for the film that they created. Really Satie-Debussyish music with some sci-fi synth elements sparkled there and there. I think this record would've fit some parts of the movie better than that soundtrack. It is a really intense and futuristic record.


I'm not much of a film buff so I haven't seen it, I can count on one hand the number of films I've seen that were made before the 50's. I can honestly say though that this album really gives me the urge to watch Metropolis.

You should see it anyways. If you like sci-fi and disthopic stuff you will really enjoy it. This album resembles the movie a lot, or at least the most intense parts.
blackmamba - 28.01.2013 at 07:02  
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9

So why did it get an 8.5??
Grimskallen - 28.01.2013 at 09:56  
Written by blackmamba on 28.01.2013 at 07:02

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9

So why did it get an 8.5??

Maybe he wanted to give 8.5 to the different parts but rounds everything from 8.0 - 8.4 to 8 and everything 8.5 - 8.9 to 9?
R'Vannith - 28.01.2013 at 12:23  
Written by Grimskallen on 28.01.2013 at 09:56

Written by blackmamba on 28.01.2013 at 07:02

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9

So why did it get an 8.5??

Maybe he wanted to give 8.5 to the different parts but rounds everything from 8.0 - 8.4 to 8 and everything 8.5 - 8.9 to 9?


Exactly right
Diamonds - 28.01.2013 at 18:26  
Your review inspired me to check this band out and I'm very pleased ( : I only listened to one song, maybe the rest of their work doesn't sound the same, but it reminded me something of Ghost Brigade which is a band I really love. Definitely going to give these guys some more attention.
MechanisT - 26.03.2013 at 23:02  
Excellent review, R'Van. Very aptly put regarding the sound and the intricacies. Great album, it has to said.

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